An Internal Front in Russia? Beware Mr Biden.

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The recent killing of Daria Dugin, daughter of Aleksandr Dugin, both Russian ultranationalists and strong supporters of Putin’s war, can be seen as a sign that a new front against the war is opening up inside of Russia.
Which is bad news for Russia.
Russian authorities are blaming Ukraine for the killing while Ukraine has vigorously denied it.
But it takes a lot of inside knowledge to pull off that action, so my take is that it’s coming from Russia itself, the military in particular.
The attack was a bold move, planting a bomb in the car she was travelling in.
My take is that we’re likely to see more of these attacks, a sign of sharp disagreements with the conduct of the war and a new resolve to put an end to it.
Will Putin be the next target?
Putin is further restricting gas exports to Europe, but the alliance is holding.
Should there be an attempt on Putin himself, would he then imagine that the West is somehow involved and try to retaliate against a western leader?
Not inconceivable given Russia’s steady downward slide in international prestige.
Putin already knows that he cannot claw himself back up to a position of respectability. He’s killed too many people, committed too many atrocities.
Additionally, there’s been a widespread deterioration in international standards.
In 2018, the Saudi prince, MBS, was considered responsible by our intelligence agencies of ordering the killing and mutilation of Jamal Khashoggi, who held resident status in our nation and was a contributing journalist to the Washington Post.
On August 12th, Salman Rushdie, the distinguished writer, was stabbed in public in Chautauqua, NY, by an American of Iranian descent who may have been influenced by Iran’s issuing an edict to kill him for having written the Satanic Verses in 1988, which Iran considered blasphemous.
India, which has enjoyed wide support from America, is oblivious to it and is joining Russia and China in military exercises.
We have an ex president thinking of running for office, who may yet be found guilty of lying on his taxes, found guilty of inciting the riot on Capitol Hill on January 6th 2021 and is suspected of tampering with the ballots in the 2020 elections in Fulton County, Georgia.
I trust that the American people, in their wisdom, will see the essence of our former president and defeat him again at the polls, as he was in 2020.
In the meantime, the war in Ukraine goes on and Putin is not winning.
If an attempt on his life were made, would he retaliate by targeting Mr Biden?
I think the FBI and the Secret Service should be on high alert to protect our president.
He has courageously pulled together the western alliance that is pushing back Russia.
Planes are said to be on the way to further aid the courageous Ukrainians.
A desperate Putin, knowing that he is a failure as a leader to Russia, may try anything.
We must be ready.

Oscarvaldes.oscarvaldes.medium.com, apple podcasts

Putin Must be Confronted

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His troops, better armed and more numerous than Ukraine’s, are gaining ground in the Donbas area, with the possibility they may encircle their adversary.
A day or two ago Russia fired missiles that landed on Kyiv. More are expected.
And Putin warned the West about giving Ukrainians longer range missiles.
There is a side in this war that seems eager to negotiate with Putin so he is not ‘humiliated’, which I take to mean that Russia gets to keep territory they didn’t occupy before the invasion.
I think they are wrong.
Putin must be confronted and the only way to do that is to better arm Ukrainians.
In providing them with missiles, Biden got guarantees from Zelensky that the weapons would not be used to fire into Russian territory. I think that’s a sound request.
So why not get the same agreement with war planes?
As the war has pressed on, the West has got bolder. Bolder because Ukrainians have shown amazing resolve in defending their land.
So why not give them the kind of weapons that can make a huge difference in this conflict?
Putin needs to be confronted.
He cannot be allowed to continue to make threat after threat.
Ukraine was never his. Never Russia’s.
In 1994, as the Soviet Union dismantled, Ukraine surrendered their nuclear weapons in exchange for security guarantees from Russia and the West. But those did not stop Putin from invading it.
Why shouldn’t, then, the West arm Ukraine with the very best, short of nuclear weapons?
To date, the only deterrent has been Putin’s threats.
It is time the West confronted them.
Biden has made clear that NATO forces won’t be used unless a NATO nation is attacked, nor that he would put American troops on the ground. Good. We should keep those commitments.
But Ukraine is being ravaged by the war and they have shown the determination to defend their land.
I read that Ukrainians that had left their country at the start of the war are now returning.
They are eager to fight for their nation.
The missing piece so far has been war planes.
If Ukraine gets them and loses the war, so be it.
But they just might turn this around and drive the Russians out.
If Ukrainians are willing to risk everything in their fight against Russia, we should step up and help them with all we can.
Will Putin be ‘humiliated’ by a defeat of his armed forces? I am sure he would be.
But that’s his problem. We should not ‘buy’ peace with timidity or acquiescence.
Putin is a thug. Thugs understand force. Ukraine has what it takes to push him back.
Let us arm Ukraine with all they need and let them determine their fate.
If Russia wins, so be it.
But they may not. And if so the world order will change.
This is the time to act. Now.

Oscar Valdes, oscarvaldes.net, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts.

Where Biden and I Differ

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As citizen of a democracy – a remarkable notion conceived and bequeathed to humanity by Athenians – I have the option of publicly differing with my President which I will proceed to do.
Russians wished they had not let such privilege be stolen from them by Putin. Had they not allowed it we wouldn’t be having this war.
But to the point.
The war in Ukraine has been hard fought. Ukrainians have been exemplary fighters, and yet the greater number of Russian soldiers and armament give them the advantage.
Slowly, I fear, the Ukrainian resistance will begin to wear down.
Though the West has provided much equipment to counter the Russian offensive, it is not enough to stop the invaders.
Mr Biden has been very clear with the American people. He does not approve of any attack on Russia, will not place any American soldiers or NATO troops on Ukraine and strictly forbids that weapons given to Ukraine be fired into Russian territory – the land Russia now occupies in eastern Ukraine exempted.
Ukraine is dependent on the West for weaponry. If we don’t provide them, regardless of their courage in combat, over time they will be overrun and quashed by Russian forces.
But can we move a step further and provide Ukraine with parity in armaments? Can we give them enough to not only hold against the Russians but beat them back and out of their nation?
After three months of uninterrupted warfare, the struggle is entering a period of fatigue.
Ukrainians have excellent leadership but that may not be enough.
Our main worry – Biden’s worry – about weapons assistance to Ukraine is that Putin will consider such assistance to be an escalation on the part of the West. And so providing Ukraine with war planes has been forbidden.
Putin has repeatedly reminded us of his nuclear arsenal and how he is willing to use it.
All along his calculation has been that Ukraine is more important to him than to the West and that sooner or later we will tire out and Ukraine will be asked to be reasonable and urged to negotiate with him.
In fact, those forces are already at work.
But we would be making a huge mistake to give in and accommodate with Putin.
True, there is the risk of a nuclear confrontation, though I believe it is much less than at the start of the war. The reason is that Putin has discovered western resolve which he did not expect and realizes he has as much or more to lose from a nuclear war than we do.
China will be the first to tell him not to dare go down that path because they don’t want to be a target of a western response.
So now is the time to step up the lethality and reach of the weapons we provide to Ukraine. Now is the time to provide them with fighter jets.
I am sure there is a way to make sure those jets don’t go over into Russian territory. But with such weapons, the direction of this war can be turned around.
Ukraine, with enough weapons, can beat back Russia. We should let them do so.
If Putin is humiliated by the defeat of his forces, good. He deserves it.
We should not give less arms to Ukrainians to ensure Putin can save face and say to his people, ‘well, we did gain some territory. As to the rest of Ukraine, let’s pause for now and invade again next year.’
Now is the time to let Ukraine win.
Putin should not.

Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.net, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts

Dear Mr Macron

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I hear that you’ve proposed negotiations with Putin to end the war. And that a guiding principle in your approach is that what solution is proposed be devoid of any sense of ‘humiliation’ for Russia.
Very considerate of you. Worrying about Putin’s feelings.
Given that he conceived and ordered the atrocities now going on in Ukraine. The massive destruction of property and infrastructure, the killing of men, women and children.
All because he felt threatened by a neighbor nation’s desire for freedom, something he will not offer to his own people. It’s just too threatening for him to see fellow Russians aspiring to such lofty state.
But just how are we to deal with a brute like Putin impersonating the president of a nation?
If he signed an agreement to cease hostilities, should we trust his word?
No.
And why should we?
He invented that Ukraine is run by Nazis to justify the invasion, not that he needed an excuse. Just wanting to have his foot on Ukrainians’ throats was a good enough reason for him.
Oh, the virtues of having silenced his opponents. Dissident Alexei Navalny’s sentence just got extended and it is a safe bet that he will never go free so long as Putin is around.
But Putin has talents. Chiefly among them the talent to deceive.
He deceived the EU collectively, having said, ‘you can trust me on the energy supplies, I will always be there for you, so long – which he didn’t say out loud – so long as I’m allowed to do as I please’.
And the EU’s leadership bowed deeply, with much relief.
Understanding what happened to the EU’s leadership in dealing with Russia should be a top subject for discussion at centers that analyze international power relations. How was it that all those talented people failed to see the evidence?
Even a capable politician like you, at one point brought up the notion of ‘Finlandization’ for Ukraine. Echoes of WWII and after. Peace with the Russian bear in exchange for letting them have influence over Ukraine’s internal affairs. You caught flak for such proposal and quickly gave it up but the fact is you thought enough of the option to raise it.
I’m sure you’re wiser now.
Eventually the war will end yet Putin will not ask for forgiveness, will not apologize, will not acknowledge that he was ever in the wrong and forever believe, that those who sought to soften him up are weaklings. That is who he is. He simply does not get that freedom facilitates the development of our minds and spirits. He has not yet killed as many people as Stalin did but he is cut from the same cloth. Why should a man like that be exonerated in any way for the cruelties he’s inflicted?
Eventually, Russians will wake up. We all are hoping they do so sooner than later, but however long it takes, the wait will be well worth it if they come to realize how they lost their way, and how it took Ukraine to light up the path.

Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.net, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts

Turkey, NATO and Biden

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A recent article in the WSJ coauthored by former senator Joe Liebermann, addressed the matter. Here I add my thoughts.
Recep Erdogan, Turkey’s president, has been in power for years but could not get his nation into the European Union. His governing style has not measured up to their standards. But now that Finland and Sweden have asked to be part of NATO, he has become the one party in the entire organization to block the two nations’ desires.
Erdogan has not applied the sanctions against Russia most of the EU – except for Hungary – have enforced. Yet he likes to see himself as a mediator that could deliver the deal that will put an end to the war.
He won’t.
As an autocrat, convinced that he should reign in Turkey until his death, he shares much with Putin. So he has no clue as to what freedom is.
He was useful to the EU in stemming the flow of Syrian refugees at the start of that nation’s civil war and got paid for it. Yet, now and then, he threatens to open the borders and let everyone through. Which puts the burden on the EU to find better solutions.
One of Erdogan’s objections to Finland and Sweden’s bid to join NATO, is that there are Kurdish terrorist groups in both countries who are enemies of his regime.
That is a good point. Why should any NATO nation host any terrorist group against another member nation?
But does Erdogan and Turkey bear responsibility for creating the conditions that led to the formation of such groups?
Turkey has a troubled history dealing with adversaries. At the start of WWI they killed thousands of Armenians, which president Biden, in 2021, on the 106th anniversary of the massacre, pronounced a genocide.
The Kurds have been American allies in the war against ISIS in Syria, and that must be recognized.
Still, support for any terrorist organization is a bad idea.
Erdogan not only wants the Kurdish groups in Finland and Sweden expelled, but also wants to be allowed to buy American planes, a deal that has been held back because a few years ago, against NATO’s wishes, Turkey purchased a Russian missile system which raised concerns that sensitive information from the aircraft would end up in Russia’s hands.
In spite of all of this, Turkey’s membership in NATO has continued.
But now the invasion of Ukraine and the strong response of the West has changed everything.
Erdogan never imagined that Biden and Europe would pull together into a solid bloc, except for Hungary.
Russia’s atrocious invasion and disregard for human life have created a new power alignment.
Finland and Sweden want to join it, but Turkey says no unless their conditions are met.
However, in this new power alignment, as in any other, priorities are needed. And while Turkey’s concern about terrorist groups deserves full attention, it should not be enough to block Finland and Sweden’s admission.
Turkey’s history of silencing the opposition is not compatible with a democracy. Thus, I agree with the view that it should not have the privilege of barring democracies from joining and expanding NATO.

Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.net, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts

The War and the Language of Emotions

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The massive loss of life that Putin has unleashed has its roots in a set of emotional perceptions.
Yet I am almost sure, that none of the heads of state who have attempted to mediate with the Russian, have asked him, ‘why are you afraid?’ or ‘are you envious of the West?’
Putin would deny he was.
Acknowledging our emotions is not easy but the cost of not doing so is enormous.
Putin has said that NATO is threatening Russia although NATO’s reason for being is to protect against Russian attacks. And there have been plenty of those.
It was Russia, or the Soviet Union before it, that invaded Ukraine in 2014 (annexing Crimea), Georgia in 2008, Chechnya in the 1990s and again in the first decade of this century, Czechoslovakia in 1968, Hungary in 1956.
To justify the present invasion, Putin has insisted that Ukraine is a threat to him and to Russia.
He did not have the personal strength to say, ‘I am afraid that if Ukrainians leave my world and take up the customs of the West – with their ways of thinking and behaving – they will set a bad example for all the peoples I have intimidated into submission. And because I am afraid, I must kill the wayward Ukrainians.’
But what is there to be afraid of?
Freedom.
Freedom is central to the language of emotions.
If there is no freedom or if it is restricted, so are the emotions we can express.
We read, go to the theatre, watch movies, so we can see other ranges of emotional expression and help expand ours.
Under political repression, only the outward expression of emotions and ideas are restricted. Inside our minds we can still think and feel what we wish. But over time, the restricted possibilities of outward expression end up constricting our thoughts and feelings.
Fear does that. And so life is diminished and devalued.
Which is how autocrats and dictators rule.
It is happening In Russia, in China, in Myanmar, in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Egypt. They restrict the freedom of others so those doing the intimidation can have more privileges than the rest.
Restriction of freedom leads to the narrowing of our emotional world.
The fact that Putin rules Russia and its subordinate territories (the word nation does not currently fit Belarus) does not mean that he is doing so with the consent of the people. If there isn’t freedom of expression in a nation, then such rule lacks legitimacy.
Legitimacy is not earned by force of arms or intimidation.
Thus, Putin is not the legitimate leader of Russia.
Instead, he is the expression of a people who has lost its voice and so become emotionally crippled because of not exercising their political freedoms.
I predict that soon there will be a revolution in Russia. There will be because of the following:
One – Russians are an educated and capable people who, in comparison to the rest of the world, are underperforming. They know it and it hurts.
Two – the incongruency between their level of sophistication and the brutality they’re being asked to carry out in Ukraine is too large.
Three – they will come to acknowledge that their political passivity is what made possible a despot like Putin.
Four – Russians will recognize that they allowed Putin to numb their emotional world and so gave themselves permission to live in fear of the tyrant.
The wholesale destruction of lives and property currently under way in Ukraine, is happening in a world that is the most interconnected there has ever been.
Everything is on display. Nothing can be hidden that won’t surface shortly thereafter.
In consequence, our emotions are heightened.
Such richness is essential to freedom.
Putin can hide from Russians the atrocities in Ukraine for only so long.
Soon enough, all the details of the carnage will be known to everyone.
And then Russians will come to accept that, in their passivity, they became Putin’s accomplices.
Which is why they will revolt.
With the continued support of the West, and Russians’ challenge of Putin from within, Ukraine will push Russia out of their territory.
And the two nations will be good neighbors and prosper.
In this day, when talks of mediation between warrying parties take place, the matter of freedom should be on the table.

Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.net, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts

Zelensky, Trump and Biden

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It wasn’t that long ago that Trump, while president, was suspected of putting pressure on Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s leader, to provide information on Biden’s son Hunter, who had held a senior position in a Ukrainian energy company. Trump was suspected of dangling before Zelensky, the promise of arms shipments, so Ukraine could hold off the better armed Russian separatists in the Donbas area – a fight being waged since Putin’s first invasion of Ukraine in 2014, when he annexed Crimea.
The matter led to the first impeachment of Trump.
Trump had feared, correctly, that Biden would end up being his adversary in the 2020 elections and he wanted something he could hold against him.
It wasn’t long ago either, that in a television show, Biden was asked by the host, ‘Do you think Putin is a killer?’ And Biden answered, ‘He’s a killer.’
Contrast that response with the one Trump gave to a reporter on July 16th 2018, in Helsinki, Finland, when asked about Russian interference in the US elections in 2016.
Reporter Jonathan Lemire asked, ‘Every US intelligence has concluded that Russia did (interfere). Who do you believe? Would you now, with the whole world watching, tell president Putin… would you denounce what happened in 2016, and would you warn him to never do it again.’
To which Trump answered, as Putin stood a few feet away behind another lectern,
‘My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and others, they said they think it’s Russia… I have president Putin… he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this… I don’t see any reason why it would be… I have confidence in both parties… I have great confidence in my intelligence people… but I will tell you that president Putin was extremely strong in his denial today.’
(Questions and answers as reported by the New York Times and The Washington Post)
Ah, yes, the beauty of previously recorded statements. You can’t hide from them.
So much has happened since then, and so much has made clear that Trump didn’t have a clue as to who Putin is.
Putin played him.
The majority of the American people saw the dysfunction, and in November 2020, chose Biden as president by a comfortable majority. It took Democrats and enlightened Republicans to put Biden in the White House.
But Trump still couldn’t believe it, so he egged on his faithful into the abhorrent assault on the Capitol on Jan 6th 2021, and on democracy itself, claiming the election had been stolen from him.
It led to a second impeachment, which also failed, given the slavish followers he still keeps in Congress.
In a short period of time, Volodymyr Zelensky has become an admired world figure while Trump’s image has tarnished and is fast eroding. And yet he still has Senators and Representatives begging for his endorsement.
But where would we be if Trump had been reelected?
Putin would have invaded Ukraine and taken it over completely. Putin might have had the audacity to invite Trump to his coronation in Kyiv.
There would have been no strong American leadership to unite the West in opposing Putin and
no arms shipments would have flowed to the Ukrainian resistance.
Fox News would have carried on about how far away those people are, and that Russia needs their sphere of influence, and what business is it of ours, anyway.
Brave Ukraine would still have resisted but they would have been slaughtered.
China would have nodded in approval and accelerated their plans to invade Taiwan, since it had become clear that America had lost its nerve.
And the world would not be what it is today.
Knowledge of character matters. Clear eyed leadership matters. Building alliances make a difference.
Because Biden and his team, saw through Putin, he was not fooled by the Russian.
His leadership of the West is now ushering in a new era.
Ukraine’s heroic resistance, with the support of the West, have exposed Russia’s military flaws.
The prospect of Russia’s defeat in this war is now more likely than ever.
Ukraine will be rebuilt, become a sterling example of democracy and a member of the EU and NATO.
Russians will have to reexamine why they supported a despot for as long as they did.
And yet, here at home, despite Biden’s extraordinary triumph in the world arena, the democratic party is expected to lose the mid term elections this November. Go figure.
Inflation and immigration are touted as the main reasons.
Republicans are rushing to blame inflation on Biden, saying that the covid assistance he provided was too large and arguing that inflation will not be tamed anytime soon.
I disagree. Inflation was inevitable, considering the dimensions of the pandemic. And I don’t think it will dampen growth significantly or for as long as others predict.
Meanwhile, our status in the world has jumped and with that comes an economic boost.
As to immigration, it has been a recurring issue in our nation. Its benefits are clear to most of us. Keeping ourselves open to the world is essential. The task ahead is to empower Americans who feel they’re being left behind. And the only way to do that is to motivate and assist them in becoming more productive and to earn more.
The war in Europe will likely be over by the end of the year if not before and I’m betting the West will win.
It will be a great triumph.
Biden and the democrats need to sell it to the voters because it is a remarkable accomplishment.
The fact that the majority in the Republican party continues to praise Donald Trump, is a sign of how destructive blind following is.
Holding on to the House and Senate in November is still possible.
And Biden and the democrats deserve a victory.

Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.net, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts

Mariupol. Alive in Their Tomb

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The video they posted is sad and alarming. Under a dim light, a group of children looked straight into the camera, and spoke of how they wanted to see the sunshine again. Their eyes wide open – their expression signaling quiet resignation – they pled for help without saying the word.
Some have been trapped under the steel plant of the port city for six weeks while Russian bombs keep falling on the structure. Their living space is likely to crumble any moment, burying them all.
Russian forces in control of the city have demanded their surrender but the trapped Ukrainians fear for their lives if they fall into their hands. Instead, they have asked the world to help create a human corridor to allow them to exit to a third party country.
A mother spoke of how they were running out of food, the despair evident in her voice, and one could feel the weight of her regret. Why had she sought shelter there, instead of elsewhere? Why had she led her family into what is becoming their tomb.
The UN’s general secretary has advocated for the human corridor but there they remain.
I suppose Putin may be waiting to extract some concession for sparing their lives.
And if he doesn’t, then those men, women and children, defiant till the end, will be buried alive, a testament to a man’s cruelty.
How was it that Russians gave so much power to a man?
Gradually. Day after day. Slowly.
You can read this but not that, came the instruction. You can see this but not that, said the next. And fear slipped in making it easier to praise than to criticize.

Soon enough, a government official comes knocking on the door. ‘We need your son and your daughter.’
‘Why?’ said their mother.
‘We have a special military operation to Ukraine. Fighting for the good of Russia.’
And the woman’s heart cringes. ‘For the good of Russia?’
‘Yes.’
‘What will they be doing?’
‘Building a greater Russia.’
‘Will they come back?’ asks the mother, the plaintive tone already in her voice.
‘Hard to say at this time. But the decadent West is supporting a Nazi government in Ukraine and we have to make sacrifices.’
‘Who says so?’
‘Putin.’
‘Could he be wrong?’
‘No. Putin is never wrong.’
‘I used to have friends in Ukraine…’ laments the woman.
‘Where?’ asks the government official.
‘In Mariupol, by the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. Lovely place.’
‘It is no more, madam… the city has been destroyed.’
‘Why?’
‘It was filled with fascists, financed by the West, plotting to harm us.’
‘They had a big steel plant, right by the water…’
‘It is no more.’
‘Sorry to hear that,’ says the woman as she looks off.
‘Where are your son and daughter?’
‘They went out on an errand. They will be back later this afternoon.’
The official takes a card out of his pocket and hands it to the woman.
‘Tell them to call me as soon as they get back.’
‘I will.’
The official gives the woman a hard look. ‘I need to hear from them today.’
‘Of course.’
‘It’s a direct order from Putin.’
‘I understand.’
‘You will be punished if they don’t call me.’
‘I will make sure they call you. I’ll dial the phone myself.’
The official narrows his eyes, now suspicious of the woman.
‘Do not fail. This is your patriotic duty.’
‘Indeed.’
The official steps back, turns to go out the door as he glances back over his shoulder.

Hours later, both son and daughter return. Their mother relates the details of the official’s visit.
The son and daughter, both eligible for serving in the armed forces, look at each other.
‘Mother,’ starts the daughter, ‘We have seen videos of what’s happening in Ukraine.’
Her mother looks back at her, suspecting the worst.
‘It’s horrible. We cannot go there. We should leave.’
‘Leave the country?’
‘Yes.’
‘Where will you go?’
‘You remember Olga?’
‘The dentist?’
‘Yes. She’s now living in St Petersburg. I called her. She told us she can take us near the border with Finland… and from there we can take our chances.’
‘It will be dangerous.’
‘We know, mother.’
‘You’re all I have.’
‘We’ll be fine.’
‘When will you be leaving?’
‘Right now.’
Mother lowers her head as her eyes grow misty. Then she looks up at them again.
‘I wonder… if I had spoken up earlier…’
They sit next to her, one on each side, and put their arms around her.
‘We shall return,’ says her son, reassuringly.
And both son and daughter smile at her.

Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.net, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts

Russia Threatens Nuclear War

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This threat has been made often since the start of the invasion, with Putin arguing that the West is using Ukraine as a proxy against him and his people.
But it is Putin and Russia, who in assaulting Ukraine, are assaulting the West.
If Ukraine had meekly said, ‘Oh yes, we really want to be like Russians, we love how you live, how you bow daily to your great leader, so go ahead Putin, we gladly surrender to you, too,’ then we wouldn’t be having this problem.
But they did not.
Instead, Ukrainians have sacrificed thousands of lives, endured immense destruction of what they have built, all for the sake of a future different than life under the Russian boot.
Russia, except for those who have had the courage of dissenting, has become a symbol of brutality to the world.
Whatever your contributions to the world, they now pale next to the pain and suffering you are willfully inflicting on others.
How can you erase that from the conscience of our civilization?
You cannot. And so it becomes your curse. Russia’s curse.
If Putin or his foreign minister or whatever other stooge, repeats the threat that they may be forced to use nuclear weapons if the West continues to arm Ukraine, then we will deal with it.
Because giving in to Russia in Ukraine is giving in to Russia anywhere.
So the threat to use nuclear weapons becomes worthless.
Knowing the intensity of Russia’s cruelty is good enough for us. We see it every day.
We know you are capable of anything and that you don’t give a damn.
We know you will fire those nuclear weapons and kill hundreds of thousands of people.
All of Russia, exception made of those who have had the courage to dissent, are now part of an assault on the West and the rest of the world.
Somehow, you, along with the Chinese, have come to believe that you are a gift to the rest of us.
You are not. We have no desire to be like you. You are an example to no one.
If you want the war to stop, you need to pull back into your territory. Rest assured that we will not go after you.
But if you don’t, we will keep arming Ukraine, and whoever else is willing to resist you.
And we will provide better weapons, even start sending planes, whatever it takes to defeat you.
Because we don’t think your brutality will ever stop. It appears to not be in you to do so.
The rest of the world will have to learn how to live without your oil and gas and other commodities. So we will invent. We will create.
By now we know that if we give up in Ukraine, we will give up in Poland, or in Rumania or in Finland or Sweden or wherever else.
So go ahead and make all the threats you want.
We are ready for them. For we will keep arming Ukraine until we win this war.

Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.net, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts

Ukraine Can Win!

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What seemed unthinkable at the start of this war, is now gathering strength. The distinct possibility that Ukraine can push back Russia and win the war.
While Russia keeps lying to their people about the war, in the West, nations are coming together in support of the heroic behavior of the Ukrainian people.
Volodymyr Zelensky, their president, has been untiring in his efforts to reach out to others soliciting support for the war effort.
Russia, meanwhile, has seen many of their people leave the country and has now summoned the help of Syrian mercenaries to help with their invasion.
The widespread killing of civilians at the hands of Russian soldiers is now a daily occurrence.
None of which appears to disturb the mind of Putin.
But let us not be fooled. Putin is afraid. Afraid that his forces are weaker than he thought, afraid that his troops lack the will to persevere in the conquest of Ukraine, afraid that fellow Russians will revolt against him, afraid that his flawed belief system and the lies he’s used to fool his people are now being exposed.
How long can he keep up the farce?
Not long.


Meanwhile, the West is coming together in realizing the enormous benefits of a Ukrainian victory, i.e, a profound shift in the political alignment of the world.
Every effort we now make will make a difference.
Putin has begun to retreat and will likely become dependent on China, a nation showing its true colors in its aversion for democracy and the suppression of free speech.
Ukraine is on the vanguard of the contest between East and West.
In their determination to not bow to Russian oppression they have become a shining symbol of what needs to be done to defend our liberties, and as such deserve our full cooperation.
Their valor calls for all of us to make sacrifices in the defense and affirmation of our values.
Circumstances have thrust them into the center of a battle that had been fought more quietly.
Now it is fully in the open.
China is an ally of Russia. It is an enemy of America and the West. It wants to use whatever the West can offer to gain further power and then turn around and use it against us.
We, in the West, do not need China.
We will not lose the hope that the Chinese people can one day rise, just as Ukrainians are now doing, and defeat their oppressive leadership and the lies they now tell.
The Chinese leadership are no strangers to inflicting mass cruelty on their people, such as was carried out during the Cultural revolution under Mao Zedong in the 60s and is presently the case in their suppression of the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang province.
Ukraine is now the battleground for freedom in our world.
Let us support them with all we can.

Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.net, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts.